Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
This sounds sooooo awesome! First off, it takes really twinky Brits to make an insult like "drink-sodden former Trotskyist popinjay" sound offensive, but there you are.
I think both these guys are dickwads: Hitchens is an arrogant, name-dropping twit who, while undeniably hyperintelligent, is also a judgmental intolerant prick who's regard for George Orwell (well-placed regard; Hitchens' book Why Orwell Matters is quite awesome) is surpassed only by his regard for Christopher Hitchens.
George Galloway, on the other hand, is absolutely reprehensible. Although adopted as an iconoclastic icon of resistance by the left because of his outspoken resistance to the Iraqi war, this perception of him has to be taken in isolation, because in just about every other facet of his life and personality, George Galloway is a scumbag. His only regret in life is that Stalin died to early for Galloway to be a proper Stalinist. An apologist for Saddam Hussein and Islamo-fascism (note that I'm not conflating the two; Galloway basically likes any flavor that's anti-Western), he was knee-deep in nefarious dealings with various people of a less-than-savory reputation. It's been hard to make any of these charges stick, but I certainly do go by the "smoke and fire" tenet (note that the little prick can't sue me for saying that).
I guess I'd probably choose Hitch on the basis of his relative lack of involvement with horrible people. I'd predict that he'd win because Galloway is primarily a demagogue with a very slippery grip on facts. But in the end what I really hope to see is a good fight, with a few sound bites that can measure up to "drink-sodden former Trotskyist popinjay."
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
So let's see who pays the Govinator's rent. Hmmm... the Western Growers Assn., which represents agribusiness. Under ordinary circumstances, I would worry that payments from agribusiness to the governor would contribute to Schwarzenegger's resistance to user fees for water customers like, oh, agribusiness. But since Ah-nuld "just never bothers himself with it" there's no problem!
An ethical system that relies on politicians' assurances that they aren't swayed by unlimited donations is no ethical system at all. Sure, in some share of cases, the politicians wouldn't be liars and wouldn't be swayed (or, as in the case of Bush and Cheney, are so much a part of the system they are sponsored by that they'd never take action against it anyway). But clearly the "I don't pay attention" excuse could be hugely useful for those that want to accept money from special interests. Schwarzenegger's denials of influence are completely besides the point: the man who said that he would accept no money from special interests is in fact benefiting from millions of dollars in money from special interests. Since these same special interests fight tooth and nail over the smallest dollar amounts they might be required to pay in taxes and fees, I can't imagine that these funds are given in the spirit of pure charity or noblesse oblige. These arrangements display Schwarzenegger's true role as governor: a bought-and-paid-for proxy for big business and an enemy of the environment and working Californians.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Well, I've been busy. A massive shoulder injury, or at least painful as hell, sidelined me for a little bit. What caused it? I dunno. Solution? Vicodin and sitting on my ass. So that was pretty sweet. I missed a fair amount of kung fu class, but the rest did me well. I recovered nicely with a sailing trip out to Two Harbors on Catalina Island with my buddy Dan this past weekend. I'll throw up some pictures from that later.
Hey, check this out! You can take the boy outta Florida, but Florida can always come visit the boy, I guess.
So, on national news, apparently high gas prices are having some good effects. I'm basically in favor of high gas prices, cf. prices in Europe. The main problems I see with the current high gas prices here in the U.S. are:
- I wish we'd done it earlier through taxes, allowing a gradual adjustment to the economic burdens. Taxes could then be adjusted downwards to absorb the unavoidable price shocks and bumps. No one would have to worry about changes in the cost of fuel, since the cost of fuel would be relatively standardized. The shock absorber would be the tax pad, so changes in oil prices would affect government revenues, but in general that's going to be a much better and more remote shock absorber than, say, Delta Airlines, which is on life support and will not withstand fuel prices at the current levels for much longer.
- Regardless of whether or not people deserve what they get, lots of people are going to be spending (hell, going to be, nothing, are spending) lots of their income on gas that they had allocated to other needs. In a debt-ridden society (like I said, I'm not talking about whether they deserve it or not), that can lead to catastrophic effects, including massive defaults on mortgages, consumer debt service, and so on. That would affect the overall economy and the share of responsible people who did nothing to deserve the problems besides being members of the economy. Look at the Latin American and Asian debt crises over the last couple of decades. Of course, those suffering the most will be the poorest.
- I highly doubt that, as a society, we'll learn a goddamned thing from this besides this: do everything possible to ensure low gas prices. Did the Big Three learn from the lessons of the early '70s? Clearly not, and now all three are having massive problems because all of their vehicles are enormous gas-guzzling monstrosities. And just like in the '70s, the Japanese automakers are having the Big Three's collective ass for lunch again. If I was head of one of the Big Three, I would have been on the phone screaming at the engineers to increase the mileage of our entire fleet exponentially at about 8:55 AM 9/11/2001. But it never occurred to any of the dumb shits that a on-going clash between Islamic terrorism and the batch of fucktards in the White House would lead to higher oil prices, which might, just might, make a suburban mom in a 10 gallon-to-the-mile Ford Behemoth pause when she had to pay $457 to drive down to the corner store. Idiots. So there's no good reason to think that the U.S. will do anything besides claw and slash to get oil prices back down, instead of wisely learning to live with them (and keeping them artificially high if and when they do go back down).